In many parts of the country, spring weather is a wild ride. Chilly mornings can turn into scorching midday heat, blue skies can suddenly fill with ominous clouds, March comes “in like a lion” with roaring winds, and those April showers bring inches of rain before the welcome sight of May flowers.
To be sure, the season also comes along with many upsides like warmer temperatures, blooming landscapes, and extended daylight hours – but just make sure you’re prepared in case of spring weather emergencies like severe storms, floods, and tornadoes.
Keep An Emergency Kit
You’ll want to stock an emergency kit for your home, and also one for your car. Periodically check your kits to make sure batteries are fresh, and that food and medicine items are within expiration dates.
Items to include in a home emergency kit (according to the CDC):
- A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
- An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
- A list of important personal information, including:
- telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
- insurance and property information
- telephone numbers of utility companies
- medical information for each member of your household
- A first-aid kit containing items such as:
- non-latex gloves
- assortment of adhesive bandages
- antibiotic ointment
- sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
- absorbent compress dressings
- adhesive cloth tape
- aspirin packets
- first aid instruction booklet
- A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Disposable face masks
- Blankets or sleeping bags
Keep a similarly stocked but scaled-down kit in your car, along with items such as:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Ice scraper
- Car cell phone charger
Safe Driving in Unsafe Conditions
Whether you’re forced to evacuate your home or simply find yourself on the road during a weather event, keep calm and follow these safe-driving guidelines prepared by Ready.gov:
- Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages. A full tank will also keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Install good tires and make sure they have enough tread.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or possibly stall. A foot of water will float many cars.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock. Stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- If it becomes hard to control the car, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could affect the stability of the roadway avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.
Talk Through Scenarios
Talking about safety plans with your family isn’t meant to be scary, it’s meant to be empowering. When kids and other members of your household are prepared, they’ll know exactly what to do in an emergency. Some points to cover:
- Tell them where to seek shelter, depending on which type of emergency.
- Practice your family’s emergency plan for every type of severe weather.
- Make sure each family member knows where the emergency kit and other supplies are stored.
- Show everyone how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
Don’t let the threat of severe spring weather put a damper on your season. Take the time to prepare for emergencies, and you can get back to enjoying all that this time of year has to offer.
In the event of an injury– remember that BetterMed has a dozen walk-in urgent care center locations throughout VA and NC, ready to treat a wide variety of conditions.